Digital Storytelling Uncategorized

Storytelling with iMovie (Week 11)

a glimpse at the terrifying state of my desktop in the process of completing this week’s assignments

This week has involved a bit of catching up and getting back on track. Speaking of tracks, for this weeks movie assignment I had to deal with audio tracks – muting tracks, deleting tracks, finding free tracks to use that somehow still got copyright claimed on Youtube… – but nevermind! This week’s assignment definitely taught me a lot about what I can do now and what I need to practice on, improve, and further explore.

For this weeks #storytelling movie assignment, I decided to make a Documentary Trailer highlighting a family trip I took back in 2018 to Europe to visit my sister who was studying abroad. I chose to do this assignment because I wanted to practice in iMovie and I wanted to do one long video assignment rather than multiple shorter ones. The finished product will be embedded below for your viewing pleasure:

Now that you’ve seen the final product, I’ll go into more detail about how it came together.

***DISCLAIMER*** I know this video might seem extremely simple to some more experienced iMovie gurus, however it was actually quite time consuming for me as someone learning and involved the application of skills I have learned earlier in this semester, as well as several Google searches for help. Sorry if it is underwhelming to anyone, but it was a valuable exercise for me in that it helped me practice creating with iMovie.

Thinking of an idea for this assignment was the most difficult part for me initially. I needed a story to tell and juggled a few ideas around before settling on this one, because I knew I had a sufficient amount of pictures and clips (content) to create a trailer. I started out using one of the trailer templates in iMovie, but as i’ll explain later I had to make some adjustments.

I chose the movie trailer template labeled “Travel” and set off to work. I first filled out an Outline that included things like Movie (or Documentary) name, group, release date, start and end location, cast list, studio name, and then the information for the ending credits. This stage was simple. Then came the storyboard stage. This stage was the most time consuming by far. However, the iMovie template contained pre-organized blocks for short clips or images to be inserted, as well as title slides in between that ran in order (like they do in a movie trailer). It took me a long time to select all the media I wanted to include, what I wanted to intermittent title slides to say, and what order I wanted each aspect to be in.

I used an assortment of personal videos, pictures, and free source video clips from the internet throughout the trailer.

Side Note: The website where I found the free source video clips (linked above) was very helpful and provided great quality short clips for my purposes in this project. Highly recommend.

Once I had every individual piece of media uploaded and placed in the desired order, I watched the trailer back and realized I absolutely hated the preset music, as well as how short some of the clip times were in the template. So I went on Google and researched how I could more freely edit this project, and subsequently converted the trailer into a movie (within iMovie). This allowed me greater creative liberty than the template, like the ability to change the background audio and adjust the clip times. The template did however provide a great organizational structure for creating the trailer in an order that made sense and looked semi-professional.

Once I had converted the template trailer into a movie, I deleted the preset audio track completely and found a free source track from the website I wanted a light hearted, upbeat track as the subject matter of this trailer was that vibe. Then I had to edit the length of the track to fit the length of the media that I had uploaded into the trailer. I adjusted it a few times to fit better with the content it played behind, but I really didn’t have to do anything too crazy on this step. Finally, I adjusted some of the title slides and clip times to last longer so that the words could be more easily read and clips that I wanted emphasized stood out more.

Once I was happy with how it all looked in iMovie, I saved the project to my laptop and then uploaded it to my YouTube channel. I was nervous at first when I saw a copyright flag on the video in the uploading stage, because I thought everything I had gotten from the internet was free source. It turns out the song I used came up as copyrighted, but it was still able to be used as long as I didn’t try to monetize the trailer (ha ha) and as long as the copyright owner could run ads before the trailer (fine by me lol). And with that, I uploaded the trailer to YouTube and previewed it there to make sure everything looked alright. Finally, I embedded it here in my blog.


This weeks assignment (and the impending deadline) really got me thinking more about the final project. After reading other’s ideas and contemplating the professor’s advice and comments from Week 10, I definitely think I want to do another movie/video format of sorts. I think it is an effective way to combine multiple mediums in one project. Of course, I plan to make something much longer than a 2 minute trailer, and something with a more complex idea/subject matter. But I want to keep experimenting with iMovie and Audacity as well to create audio with more depth and technique. I want to tell a bigger story than I have so far, one that focuses on more than my own life and experiences, although one that still has my voice. Perhaps doing something based on my local community (the Outer Banks of North Carolina) would be interesting, as I am not in Fredericksburg this semester. I think it would be interesting to do a documentary style video that talks about the history of a place and then transitions to modern day video that encapsulates what living there now looks like. I think that could produce an interesting story about comparison between eras, the evolution of society, etc.

As always, thanks for listening/watching/reading. Stay tuned for more next week.